Tag: Housing
Fascinating Questions from The Independent Review
The Spring 2013 issue of The Independent Review—the Independent Institute’s flagship scholarly journal, edited by Robert Higgs—is hot off the press. Below you’ll find links to articles and book reviews that address a host of intriguing questions: Why have domestic police agencies across the United States resorted increasingly to “no-knock” raids and other military-type...
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Unprecedented Household Deleveraging since 2007
For decades, American families espoused the not-quite-Cartesian ontology: I go into debt; therefore I am. Household debt climbed ever higher through good times and bad. Since the onset of the current recession, however, household debt has contracted substantially for the first time in more than half a century. After reaching a peak at $13.82...
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The Property Tax Panacea
One of the biggest targets of liberal acrimony in California is Proposition 13, the 1978 ballot initiative that capped property taxes at 1% and requires 2/3 of legislative approval to increase most tax rates. It also caps the reassessment of real estate value by 2% per year, barring new construction or a change in...
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The Fed Hates Renters Too
Following up Bob’s excellent post: The Fed’s below-market interest-rate policy is also non-neutral in another important way, namely distorting people’s housing choices toward ownership (typically, a 30-year debt obligation) over renting. Aside from its efficiency effects, this of course has huge distributional consequences. I wrote about this in 2009 in the context of the...
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How Much Does the Safety Net Help the “Very Poor”?
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in attempting to highlight an emphasis on the middle class in his platform, said a politically foolish thing. “I’m not concerned about the very poor,” he said. “We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair, I’ll fix it.” In an apparent effort to soften the harshness of...
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Good News for Californians: Redevelopment Agencies Shut Down
In the face of substantial budgetary problems, California’s legislature voted to shut down its more than 400 redevelopment agencies that used tax dollars to partner with developers to redevelop blighted areas. Governor Jerry Brown proposed shutting down those agencies, saying the $5 billion they spent annually could be better spent elsewhere. One reason this...
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The Welfare State Neutralizes Potential Opponents by Making Them Dependent on Government Benefits
From time immemorial—from Etienne de la Boitie to David Hume to Ludwig von Mises—political analysts have noted that because the number of those in the ruling elite amounts to only a small fraction of the number in the ruled masses, every regime lives or dies in accordance with “public opinion.” Unless the mass of the people,...
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U.S. Economic Recovery Remains Anemic, at Best
How goes the recovery? Not well, it seems. Indeed, according to the most recent official estimates, it is anemic, at best. As the chart shows, real GDP has recovered its losses during the recent contraction and is now running at about the same rate as it was at its pre-recession peak in late 2007. So, the rate at which the...
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Government Stimulus: Polishing the Rotten Apples
Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there was a country famous for its apples. In fact, it produced nothing but apples and so was called Appleonia. The people ate many apples in many different ways: raw apples, baked apples, apple pies, apple fritters, and candied apples, to name just a...
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It’s Housing, Stupid! Parallels Between the 1920s and the 2000s
In response to my recent essay “Obama and Hoover: Two ‘Smart’ (Stupid) Presidents”, one commenter did me the service of rehashing the old myths about the 1920s and the causes of the depression and how Herbert Hoover did little, FDR did a lot and Hoover has nothing in common with “Wonder Boy” Obama. (Coolidge...
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